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Songs We Love: Tom Demac, 'The Shuttle Awaits'

Tom Demac's new EP, <em>The Shuttle Awaits</em>, comes out August 15.
Courtesy of the artist
Tom Demac's new EP, The Shuttle Awaits, comes out August 15.

It's a fool's errand to shorthand the diverse well of techno and house energy at the heart of Tom Demac's "The Shuttle Awaits," the latest in a flurry of singles the North Wales-reared, Manchester-hardened Londoner's been dropping for Aus and Hypercolour the past few years. His music clicks multiple genre boxes without pandering to any of them: hard, and as potentially minimal, as a brick; funky in that druggy, delinquent, energizing way U.K. producers and DJs have been cornering since at least 1988's Summer of Love; and filled with attractive melodies and textures, not to mention vocals, that could incite even the most unsuspecting club novice. Demac (born McDonald) is a princely prospector of experimental dance music's pop wing. If someone ever posits him next to a traditional songwriter, hits may well follow.

"Shuttle" begins as a nighttime ride, syncopating a booming low-end, some deliciously blue horn stabs, and a guitar (bass?) noodle that sounds like it came straight off a New Order demo. It's a hell of a base to build a track on — and build on it is exactly what Demac does. Soon enough, a ghostly, wordless voice is adding a melody line, and eventually something resembling a chorus vocal (courtesy of Gary McLure of Manc nu-gaze band Working For A Nuclear Free City). Then, when it's time to lead the track from breakdown to promised land, the controls are guided by a classic house piano figure, and "Shuttle" approaches peak-time, hands-in-the-air material. Serious music for having fun.

The Shuttle Awaits EP is out on Hypercolour on August 15.

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